Communication – Master of Arts

The Master of Arts in Communication is a "generalist" (non-specialized) degree with two options: thesis and non-thesis. The program is 100 percent online and can be completed in as little as 12 months. The pace required to achieve a one-year cycle typically mandates full-time graduate student status and is very challenging.

Admission Requirements

  1. Satisfactory undergraduate GPA of at least 2.5. Applicants must meet the Graduate School's requirement of a minimum 2.5 overall undergraduate GPA for general admission to graduate study at MSU (for criteria, refer to "Admission to Graduate Study").
  2. Sufficient academic preparation in the communication field. Applicants should have completed an undergraduate major or minor in communication. Where an applicant is judged to have insufficient academic preparation in the communication field, such as completing fewer than nine credit hours in oral communication and/or media-related communication. Additional courses may be required to qualify for unconditional admission.
  3. Satisfactory GRE score or alternative qualification. Applicants must satisfy one of the following requirements:
    1. GPA/GRE Index - A minimum INDEX score of 781 according to this formula: Undergraduate cumulative GPA x (GRE verbal score + GRE quantitative score), with a minimum GRE verbal score of 146.
    2. Completed M.A. degree - Documentation of a completed Master of Arts degree from a regionally accredited school will exempt the applicant from having to take the GRE and satisfy the GPA x GRE index.
    3. 4.0 GPA on first nine hours of COMM graduate courses. Alternatively, applicants who meet requirements 1 and 2 may request conditional admission and circumvent taking the GRE by completing their first nine graduate credit hours in Communication at MSU with a GPA of 4.0. Students who fail to achieve a 4.0 after completing nine credit hours at MSU in Communication must then take the GRE and meet the minimum GRE/GPA index score before taking additional credit hours in COMM courses.
  4. TOEFL - Students who speak English as a foreign language must submit a minimum TOEFL score of 525 to be considered for admission to the program.

Program Competencies

Students must demonstrate competency in the following areas:

  1. Discussing and applying qualitative research methods.
  2. Discussing and applying communication theory.
  3. Engaging in graduate-level writing.
  4. Engaging in bibliographic research.
  5. Integrating, synthesizing and applying course concepts.


  1. Exit interviews.
  2. Graduate portfolio including at least one major paper from each of the three core courses and any additional materials that demonstrate the student's knowledge and abilities.

Requirements for the Degree

  1. Satisfy general degree requirements.
  2. Must be unconditionally admitted.

This degree requires 30 hours of coursework. Nine hours are required core courses. The remaining hours are selected based on student/advisor collaboration.